‘Policy conflict hurting investment ’

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Government ministers should stop political rhetoric that scares away investors as the country is in desperate need of investment, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said.

Tsvangirai told supporters at the party’s 12th Anniversary celebrations at the weekend that policy differences were threatening new jobs and investors the country needed.

“We need more investments not less. Government is a collection and you shouldn’t give party policies as government policies. Let us communicate well with the people,” he said.

Tsvangirai distanced his party from policies pronounced by the Zanu PF arm of government saying the MDC-T was not in agreement with what Saviour Kasukuwere and others in Zanu PF say with regard to indigenisation and empowerment.

“We need to create confidence in the international business investors. We are not in agreement to policies announced by Zanu PF,” he said.

Tsvangirai said cancellation of Zimbabwe Platinum Mines operating licence could be destructive to the country and the lives of more than 4 000 workers employed by the mining giant.

“The inclusive government can’t create jobs because of conflict of policies. (President) Mugabe says we want to make sure your investment is safe, but Kasukuwere says I want to close this mine (Zimplats),” Tsvangirai said.

“This kind of policy conflict cannot inspire confidence.”

The Premier said the biggest time bomb the country was facing was the educated but unemployed youths in the country which has an unemployment rate of 85%.

Last week Mugabe assured foreign companies, saying their investments were safe and urged them to comply with the country’s new equity laws while at the same time, Kasukuwere was threatening to revoke Zimplats’ licence for failure to submit an “acceptable” indigenisation plan.

Tsvangirai said it was important that indigenous Zimbabweans should be able to become investors in their own country but this should not be an excuse for well-connected individuals to loot and frighten investors for their own selfish ends in the name of the ordinary people.

“All that prevents major, reputable investment in Zimbabwe is a complete lack of respect for the rule of law and what some Zimbabweans have called the outrageous and frankly illegal behaviour of the minister charged with the responsibility for indigenisation,” said Tsvangirai.

Early this year, Africa Development Bank president Donald Kaberuka said political discord was making it difficult for the country to attract foreign investment.

“Zimbabwe has done the basics right, but now they are stuck. They have stabilised the macroeconomic environment, but they cannot move to the next phase of development until there is policy clarity especially on property rights that give some long-term predictability,” said Kaberuka.

“The signals coming out of Zimbabwe can be quite confusing and they discourage investors. I have urged the Zimbabweans to give signals which are less confusing, to have greater policy clarity.”